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age to 67 and cap benefit hikes under social security. obama and house speaker john boehner are due to begin negotiations friday on averting the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions set to take effect at the end of the year. speaking in washington, treasury secretary timothy geithner stressed the urgency of reaching a deal. >> i know the cliff is unattractive. it would cause a lot of damage to the american economy. a careful about those who argue and urge for "let's just extend while we negotiate." it will leave a different source of uncertainty on the table, like what would give the people the incentive to come back and do something tough. >> millions of workers in europe have joined a general strike today protesting the wave of spending cuts and tax hikes that has swept the continent in the name of austerity. spanish and portuguese workers are coordinating their strike with work stoppages also planned in greece, italy, france and belgium. we will have more on the strike after headlines. closing arguments have ended in a pretrial hearing to
boehner pledged to negotiate in good faith. >> the american people want us to work together. republicans and democrats want us to work together. they want a balanced approach to everything, but especially the situation we have dealing with this huge deficit and taxes that are part of that. >> there is an alternative to going over the fiscal cliff. it involves making real changes to the financial structure of entitlement programs and reforming our tax code to curb special interest loopholes and deductions. by working together and creating a simpler, cleaner tax code, we give our country a stronger, healthier economy. >> powerful winter storm again has blasted the northeast, bringing wet snow and strong winds to areas already devastated by last week's superstorm sandy. tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power along the east coast from the carolinas to new york on wednesday, joining the more than half a million customers who still remain without power in sandy's wake. concerns were raised the storm could relief -- threatening relief effort in some of the hardest-hit polls. meanw
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